College announces plans for new dining facility

by Katherine Burns / Beacon Staff, Laura King / Beacon Staff, and Claire Nobles / Beacon Staff • March 3, 2016

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Rendering of what the facility will look like from Boylston Street.
Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects
Rendering of what the facility will look like from Boylston Street.
Courtesy of Elkus Manfredi Architects

Updated; 3/16/16

The new permanent dining facility on Boylston Street  will offer a late-night social space and a cafe, according to President M. Lee Pelton.

The dining hall, announced in an email earlier this month, will include 122-124 Boylston St. and 19 Boylston Pl. The space will be able to seat 550, compared to the Little Building dining hall’s 297 student capacity.

Pelton said the new facility should be open by fall 2017, which is when renovations on the new Little Building are projected to begin.  

The ad hoc committee, formed by the Board of Trustees last semester, unanimously agreed to use the space for the new center. The board recently approved the new facility. Pelton said, however, that this idea has been in consideration for a while, as Emerson already owned 122-124 Boylston St. Pelton said they recently acquired 19 Boylston Pl.

“We had thought of it both as a temporary dining space and as a permanent dining space,” Pelton said. “When 19 Boylston Pl. became available to us then it made it possible for us to think about those 3 spaces creating a conjoined dining facility.”

Emily Solomon, the Student Government Association’s executive president and member of the ad hoc committee, said she is satisfied with the decision to use the space.  

“I was very reassured of the direction we were going to go in. These were spaces that weren’t on the table before,” Solomon said. “After that, that was sort of the direction we just went in. This was just so overwhelmingly favorable.”

Solomon, a junior visual and media arts major, said she is glad the administration is including student voices in the decision making process.

Pelton said he hopes that 19 Boylston Pl. has the look and feel of a cafe, and that it can be kept open as a late night social place for students. Pelton said the committee plans on reaching out to the Emerson community to see how they want to use the new areas.

“It’s really wonderful space and it also provides us the opportunity to create multiple dining options for students,” Pelton said.

Ellie Penfield-Cyr, a sophomore political communication major, said she liked the idea of it being two floors.

“It looked pretty sick,” Penfield-Cyr said. “The double floor aspect looked cool.”

The ad hoc committee recently received several proposals regarding Emerson’s Colonial Theatre, according to Pelton, and will be deciding on them within the year. Pelton declined to comment on who submitted them.